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Ukraine suffers $5 bln losses due to untimely purchases of gas — former PM

Ukraine has one of Europe’s largest underground gas storage facilities and could have pumped gas into them in advance, he said

KIEV, October 16. /TASS/. The current Ukrainian government should be hold accountable as it failed to buy gas at a lower price and is currently overpaying, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said on Ukraine-24 television channel on Saturday, adding that the country was facing $5 billion losses.

"Now, $5 billion will be pulled out of the pockets of Ukrainians - just think about this figure - $5 billion. These are losses of the state and the state-run company Naftogaz, because when [gas] should have been bought at $250 [per 1,000 cubic meters], they did not buy it, and now we have to buy it at $1,200 [per 1,000 cubic meters]. $5 billion is equal to annual defense spending," Yatsenyuk said.

The former prime minister recalled that Ukraine has one of Europe’s largest underground gas storage facilities and could have pumped gas into them in advance.

"How could we hedge against paying Russia almost $2,000 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas? The key formula was to buy gas when it cost $250 [per 1,000 cubic meters]. Not everyone could have afforded that, since not everyone has gas storage facilities. But Ukraine has one of the biggest gas storage facilities in Europe and Naftogaz used to have $2 billion in its accounts. This money could have been used to buy enough gas and pump it into storage facilities," he said with confidence.

Yatsenyuk believes that gas prices were soaring "because of a speculation arranged by Russia’s Gazprom", but points out that Ukraine’s current authorities should be held accountable for this situation.

"Ukraine’s current authorities are personally responsible for this," he is convinced.

In November 2015, Kiev stopped buying Russian gas directly and substituted it by what is known as virtual reverse flows from Europe, which had a negative impact on tariffs for Ukrainian consumers. Ukraine refused to resume direct purchases of gas from Russia at a reduced price, under the 2019 agreement reached by Viktor Medvedchuk, leader of the Opposition Platform - For Life party. At that time, Russia was ready to sell Ukraine gas at a fixed price of $175 per 1,000 cubic meters. Ukraine has faced a gas crisis after Russia had completed the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline and after energy prices skyrocketed in Europe.